Carmen’s Award Experience
“The Award has given me the opportunity to travel, explore and learn about myself. What The Award asks of their participants is nothing extraordinary, if anything everyone should always be learning, helping neighbors, and happy and healthy. The extraordinary and difficult part of this program was to sustain and continually work on the betterment of oneself and the community. The program has pushed me outside of my bubble and I will, thanks to the starting off point of the Award, continue with my journey of exploration and learning for the rest of my life.
Bronze Adventurous Journey
I have proudly completed all three of the levels of this program, each taught me something new and was a little scary. They have all come together to aid and push me forward into life. My Bronze level, I was welcomed into a beautiful team of strong women. Together, we learned how to work together on our canoeing Adventurous Journey, which was extremely difficult. Before even starting the trip across the lake, I remember watching people sized ice blocks float and how cold it was to only stand near the water, let alone sit on top of the icy water. But we showed no fear and hopped into the canoes, it was only then when we came around a bend in the lake where a rush of strong freezing wind pushed us back. We fought against that wind, a journey that took twice the amount of time we had planned. After setting up camp and eating a fast meal, we explored. When we gathered back around the fire, someone was missing. I remember sitting around the fire after calling out her name for what felt like hours, crying together. Fear filled all of us, we were young but not unaware. I know how dangerous the forest is, even more so at night. I said nothing, I did not mention the fact I knew because everyone was thinking the same thing I was. Hours went by and she safely found her way back to camp by following the flare we sent up for the search and rescue helicopter.
“The plan does not always work, and time does not stop but choosing positivity and strength will ensure that everything ends where it is supposed to.”
Silver Adventurous Journey
On my Silver Adventurous Journey, I faced one of my biggest fears. Since the last journey, which strengthened my confidence in myself as well as relationships and trust within my team, I was able to push through my fears with the support of my team. I am terrified of heights and during our journey, we went mountain climbing in the Rocky Mountains. Massive mountains with incredible views, and the freshest air I have ever breathed. Still, the amazing experience terrified me. My body was sore from the extreme activity and the fear. For the most part when climbing I had pushed my forehead into the mountain side, and focused on breathing. I would not have been able to do that without my team behind me supporting me. After eating a good meal, I was the first to fall asleep. That day had exhausted me to my bones. Without a question, pushing through that fear with the support of my team made it easier for the next time where I was alone. The experience has given me the confidence to do it again and to try scary, harder things.
Gold Adventurous Journey
My Gold journey was unlike every other journey before. My team had spread across Canada on new journies. Instead of the loud, whirlwind of a group, I found a new team. A smaller, calmer, peaceful group, I love them with my whole heart. They are more than teammates, they are my sisters. We fight, cry, yell and always come back. On my last Adventurous Journey as a participant, we backpacked around a mountain in Waterton, Alberta. This was a different type of challenge, I was not scared but after walking for hours in the sun with 30 extra pounds on my back, there was a war in my body and the fight was to keep moving. Not only did I have to wake up and do it again for the next three days but I also made a mistake. Without thinking I left my shoes outside of the tent. So I woke up to find a puddle of that night’s rain in my shoes. Because there was nothing I could do or change, I laughed with my friends, poured out the water and put on the shoes. It wasn’t great but my feet were sweaty in an hour anyways.
Each journey gave me the confidence and skills to move onto the next journey. I have truly enjoyed the work and experiences I have had because of this program. It has helped me become a well-rounded person and has changed my life as I am more willing to try, whether or not I fail or succeed does not matter because I can handle and learn and grow from both outcomes.”
The Award is proud of Carmen for persevering and discovering the outdoors even though it entailed uncertainty and scary movements. We hope other young people are inspired by this story and gain a spirit of adventure.